BART customers are now able to borrow a book on their way to their train at Millbrae Station, handed to them by the robotic arm of a new book lending machine. BART and the Peninsula Library System (PLS) unveiled a "Free2Read & Ride" book lending machine on the concourse level of the station during a ceremony on Thursday, May 5, 2011.
Anyone who has a library card for one of the PLS libraries can use the machine to borrow one or more of the 500 available books.
"Offering these types of amenities is one of the ways we can encourage more people to use public transportation," BART Board President Bob Franklin said. "BART's 95% ontime performance is already a strong incentive for commuters to ride BART, but the added benefit of being able to borrow a best seller and to settle in for a little reading while you're commuting makes BART even more attractive."
BART has a similar program in the East Bay but this is the first West Bay station to get a machine. BART was the first transit agency in the country to offer this service to customers with the opening of the first machine (called Library-a-Go-Go) in May 2008 at the Pittsburg/Bay Point Station.
"Just as our East Bay customers have enthusiastically embraced Library a-Go-Go, I’m sure our San Mateo County customers will be equally happy," said BART Board Member Joel Keller. Keller has been selected as the first-ever Millbrae liaison from the BART Board. "We are always looking for ways to improve our riders’ experience on BART and this certainly fills the bill."
The Free2 Read & Ride machine features a touch screen, similar to an ATM screen, that library card-holders use to select books. The books are then delivered through an opening in the front of the unit by a robotic arm.
"Public Libraries are innovating daily and finding new ways to bring information, programs, and services to their communities," California State Librarian Stacey Aldrich said. "The California State Library is pleased to be able to support the new book dispensing machine at the Millbrae BART station, which will give commuters an opportunity to find something wonderful to read as they make their daily commutes. Public libraries in 2011 are not just about single buildings but services distributed throughout the community to meet people at their point of need."
This project is brought to the public by the members of the Peninsula Library System (PLS): Burlingame Public Library, Daly City Public Library, Menlo Park Public Library, Redwood City Public Library, San Bruno Public Library, San Mateo County Library, San Mateo Public Library, South San Francisco Public Library and the San Mateo Community College District Libraries in cooperation with BART and in partnership with the California State Library.
Updated version of story originally posted April 29,2011